ek robotics celebrates 60 years of success

ek robotics, leading manufacturer of automated guided vehicles (AGVs), is celebrating 60 years of business success.

Over the past six decades, the company has grown, evolved, and faced many challenges, all whilst staying committed to becoming the leading global manufacturer and integrator of automated guided vehicles.

ek robotics’ journey and timeline

The beginning…

The foundations of this family-owned company were laid in 1963, with the presentation of one of the first automated guided vehicles (AGVs). This saw the beginning of European AGV developments.

1970s – The introduction of automated tow vehicles

Experts developed the first systems with automated tow vehicles and pallet trucks that could travel in both directions and were capable of automatically coupling trailers. 

1980s – ek robotics was founded

On 11th December 1980, ek robotics (previously: EK Automation) was founded by electrical engineer Dieter Eilers. A few weeks later, in January 1981, electrical engineer Jürgen Kirf joined the company as the second owner. In these early days, the company was called Eilers & Kirf. 

From 1980 to 1988, the engineering company focused on the development of innovative solutions and designs for industrial electronics before entering the field of automated guided vehicles (AGVs).

1990s – The rise of ek robotics

In 1996, the company acquired all the AGV shares of Demag Jungheinrich FTS GmbH, marking the beginning of ek robotics’ rise to become the leading supplier of automated industrial trucks.

Towards the end of the 1990s, the company became an official Siemens Solutions Partner and implemented process controls for wastewater treatment plants on cruise ships worldwide.

Early 2000s – New HQ & company acquisition

In 2001, Eilers & Kirf GmbH moved its headquarters to new premises in Nenndorf, Rosengarten. That year, they acquired their competitive company, Indumat GmbH & Co KG, and their employees. Many of the AGV experts are still active in the company today.

Latter 2000s – Growth & awards

In 2003, Eilers & Kirf GmbH acquired a stake in a Czech company for automated guided vehicles, which was later fully taken over.

In 2008, the company was renamed E&K Automation. After successfully implementing the automation of narrow-aisle forklifts, the company won the “Logistics of the Future” Award in 2011. 

2011 – Change of ownership

In May 2011, the entrepreneur family Böttner took over E&K Automation GmbH. Andreas J. Böttner has been actively involved in the company’s management for more than 12 years and was appointed CEO in 2018.

2021 – Rebrand to ek robotics

On 1st July 2021, E&K Automation rebranded to ek robotics. The variety of colours in the logo characterises the distinctive look of the “Infinite colours of transport”.

2023 – New HQ in Hamburg

After more than 20 years in Nenndorf, ek robotics relocated its corporate headquarters to Hamburg. This new building provides space for more than 400 experts.

Chris Price, ek robotics UK Managing Director, commented: “We couldn’t be happier reaching this incredible milestone, celebrating 60 years of ek robotics success.

“We pride ourselves on manufacturing and delivering the highest quality transport solutions for our customers worldwide. The passion and dedication of our employees and trusted partners has helped us become the company we are today. Thank you to everyone who has supported us throughout our journey, we look forward to achieving many more years of success.”

To discover more about ek robotics’ success story, visit https://ek-robotics.com/en/about-us/60-years-agv/

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